Harris: 'We Thought Petersen Was Joking'

Dan Raley

Washington football players were seated in the team room, pulled together for just another meeting they surmised, when Chris Petersen told them he was stepping down as coach.

They thought the Huskies head man was kidding.

"He sometimes does that in meetings, makes little jokes about people getting suspended and then says, 'Oh, I'm just messing around,' " Nick Harris said. "The more he kept going, it was 'OK, he's serious.' "

The first-team, All-Pac-12 center said everyone in the room registered shock and looked at each other as the news began to sink in.

Harris said he supports Petersen's plans to leave the program following next Saturday's Vegas Bowl against Boise State, which will be the lineman's final one as well.

"He has to do what he needs to do," the senior said. "I respect his decision 1,000 percent whatever he wants to do. I appreciate the opportunity he gave me to come here."

Harris expects the program under new coach Jimmy Lake largely to mirror what they do now.

"Some things are going to change, but the philosophy, the culture, the way we do things are not," he said.